I know of nothing so potent in maintaining good health in laboratory animals
as perfectly constituted food; I know of nothing so potent in producing ill-health
as improperly constituted food. This, too, is the experience of stock breeders.
Is man an exception to a rule so universally applicable to the higher animals?
Major General Sir Robert McCarrison, CIE MD D.Sc LL.D FRCP

Toxemia is a polluted condition of the body's milieu interieur, due to impurities in the bloodstream derived from improperly constituted food and to a lesser extent from other sources.

The diseases of civilization in some cases commence before birth due to malnutrition and toxemia of the mother in pregnancy. From birth onwards they appear in a fairly predictable sequence in the average person and are so common they are generally assumed to be a more or less normal part of human existence. The sequence starts with various minor respiratory infections, proceeding to tooth decay, occasional flu, acne, dandruff, constipation and so on, all considered quite to be expected. As people grow older the more troublesome problems appear, such as premenstrual tension and headaches in women, slowly increasing blood pressure, the need for reading glasses, back problems and so forth. From this stage it is only a short step to arthritis, diabetes, circulatory and digestive problems, ulcers, gallstones, kidney stones, bowel problems, glaucoma, and finally cataracts, prostate disorders, osteoporosis, senility, Alzheimer's disease--if heart attack, stroke or cancer have not already broken the sequence. These are only the common ones, but common or uncommon they are all malfunctions caused by toxemia; they are symptoms of toxemia. Toxemia is the real disease.

The different manifestations of disease, being of mainly dietary origin, vary according to the nature of the dietary faults responsible, and thus different countries and communities display varying disease patterns which differ according to the traditional diets and other living habits which are followed. Whereas, in the Western nations, there was once a distinction between the so-called diseases of affluence and the deficiency diseases common among the poor, today that distinction has just about disappeared due to the improved financial situation of the lower classes, so that now just about everybody can enjoy the pleasures of the "supermarket" Western diet and suffer the diseases of affluence together.

In brief:

Toxemia: impurities and deficiencies of the blood (see "Mineral Deficiencies" in Chapter 15)
Disease: dysfunction of normal body processes.
Civilization: society of developed culture, art and science

Why humans get sick and wild animals do not formula: The art of cooking + the science of chemistry and medicine = toxemia and the diseases of civilization.

Improperly constituted food--to use Dr McCarrison's expression--although life sustaining, is at the same time health destroying because it does not furnish the life-sustaining components in the proper form or quantity, and in addition introduces, directly or indirectly, toxic substances into the bloodstream. Thus the digestive system is constantly overworked and the milieu interieur is constantly in a state of toxemia, the degree of which is dependent on the vitality of the eliminatory organs. The manner in which the body is impaired and the symptoms of impairment displayed are dependent on the degree and nature of the toxemia.

Because there are countless variations in the nature and degree of toxemia, there are countless variations in symptoms, which accounts for why there are so many diseases doctors must try to remember the names of in their mistaken belief that each symptom represents a different disease.

All races of people are sickness prone, some to a greater or lesser extent than others, for the simple reason that humans everywhere tamper one way or another with natural food--mostly by cooking--and often consume food not really suited to their systems at all, in addition to which they practise other harmful habits.

The traditional Western diet--that is, one high in fat, protein, cholesterol, salt, sugar, condiments and so on--contains plenty of nutrients, but in the wrong proportions, too much of it cooked, and too much of it altogether. That the Western diet can sustain health is a fact, but it does so only if the digestive system can perform the difficult task of breaking it down and assimilating it while at the same time effectively disposing of the toxic by-products produced. Thus no matter what the diet, the duration of healthy years and the ultimate duration of life depends on how long the integrity of the body's vital organs can be maintained under whatever strain they may be forced to endure. All forms of animal life respond to unnatural food in the same way. Horses fed on oats and chaff will maintain reasonable health and live for twenty-five years, but on good natural pastures will maintain better health and live for fifty years. Similarly, dogs and cats fed only on canned and packaged foods never display best condition nor live as long as those fed exclusively on raw meat.*

*An example of how imperfectly constituted food eaten by a mother in pregnancy and beforehand can cause physical and mental deformities in the offspring is given from the cat feeding experiments of Francis M. Pottenger, MD, of California. Dr Pottenger conducted experiments involving 900 cats over a tenyear period from 1932-42, having noticed how dietary deficiencies constantly occurred in experimental animals fed on a scientifically formulated, supposedly perfectly constituted diet which contained some cooked food.

On a diet of raw meat and pasteurized milk or on a diet of cooked meat and raw milk, the cats' health deteriorated, whereas cats fed on raw meat and raw milk maintained perfect condition. The offspring of the ailing cats were weak and deformed with slack or perverted interest in sex, and those that survived to adulthood and were capable of breeding produced either stillborn or pathetically weak kittens. There were no further generations of the weakened cats because this generation was incapable of even attempting to breed.

When such cats of the second generation were put on the raw diet, their health improved and breeding from them was successful. However, Dr Pottenger reported that even properly fed, it took four further generations of this group before the line became completely normal again.

Pottenger recorded that when cats were fed raw milk from dry feed cows instead of raw milk from fresh feed cows, they showed deterioration similar to cats fed pasteurized milk. (See Pottenger's Cats, A Study in Nutrition, Price Pottenger Foundation, La Mesa, California.)